SD supreme court rules against Highway 16 quarry owner

The South Dakota Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Pennington County Board of Commissioners in a back and forth legal battle regarding land use.

Iowa-based Croell Redi-Mix, owns the Perli Pit quarry located on Highway 16, east of Bear Country U.S.A. The company received approval to expand operations by the Pennington County Commission in February of 2016. Croell planned on expanding the limestone quarry to have more cement materials.

Quarry neighbors appealed the construction permit, saying it would slow traffic on Highway 16. The Pennington County Board of Commissioners then blocked the expansion and revoked the construction permit. The board, which voted 4-1, said the land was originally zoned for general agriculture.

Croell retaliated and appealed to the 7th Circuit Court, which reinstated construction permit.

Finally, Pennington County appealed to the South Dakota State Supreme Court in March of 2017. The court revoked the permit on Dec. 13, ruling that Croell would need a mining permit instead of a general construction permit to expand quarry operations.

Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson & Ashmore, LLP partner Donald Knudsen was one of the lawyers who represented the county. He said the Supreme Court’s verdict sets stricter regulations for companies who want to mine in Pennington County.

“Any mine which will extract more than 100 cubic yards of material will need to have a mining permit,” said Knudsen. “That’s a new development based on the existing language of the ordinance. What [the Supreme Court] said is that the ordinance had not previously been interpreted correctly.”

Croell has the option to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but Knudsen said further appeals are unlikely because it is a local issue.

Knudsen also said that Croell filed a $10 million lawsuit against Pennington County over lost revenue, but it is still pending.